I can't imagine a different narator being as in-tune with Tuchman's tone as Nadia May (aka Wanda McCaddon). The author gives the subject matter the writing skills it deserves.
Drop the accents
I am a big history buff (particularly history of the world wars) and a large consumer of both traditional books and audio books but this one missed the mark for me. The writing and the story are both terrific (I ended up reading the kindle version). The book is very detailed and insightful, but in my opinion, the audiobook is just not a great format for this particular tale and the narration made it even worse. Firstly, there are simply too many names and locations in this book to sort out and many of those names sound similar. The fact that most are non-english makes them all the more challenging to track when read aloud. That, combined with the narrator Nadia May's awful and frankly distracting use of "accents" caused the story become incredibly difficult for me to follow. I regularly found myself spacing out only to realize that I had missed large sections of the story which, as an historical account, meant that I was missing important facts in the chain of events. I think even if the narration was not a distraction, this would be a tough book to listen to. In my opinion, reading the information on a page simply allows for more retention and in this book, the information is dense and critical to the story.
Great writing, great reading and an excellent non-fiction choice for a listener interested in history; its insights into the mindsets of those involved in the "Great War" are unique. This is truly worth ones money and, more importantly, ones time. If you like history, add this book to your list of inerests!
Less recitation of facts, like the begats in the Old Testament, would have made a better beginnig.
A cross between a lector in church and a high school drama teacher
Sure: it won the Pulitzer Prize.
Maybe I'll try a print version some day, after I run out of audio books to listen to.
What can I say? These two women totally kill it. Barbara Tuchman is just one of the greatest historians ever, and this is her "greatest hit". Nadia May combines a lovely classical voice with such subtle authority that you forget she's the narrator and not the writer herself.
The book was everything and more. What a tragic month August 2014 was... Let's hope we never repeat it ever again.
I loved the opening chapter, concerning the funeral of Edward VII and discussion of European politics, diplomacy and the inter-relations of the royalty. Also, I thought the author was insightful and I liked her description of some of the key personalities.
The opening paragraph was lovely - Edward VII's funeral procession.
I think the book has been filmed as a documentary, and I would love to see it.
I wish that I had read a print version of the book. In the audio version, it's easy to get lost in the troop movements. After a while, I gave up and just let the narrative wash over me rather than trying to keep track of which cavalry was here and which brigade was there.
The amount of detail is staggering and the reader really brings everything to life. I felt like I needed to take notes to keep up at some points, but I definitely recommend this one.